"King of cryptocurrencies" and owner of CoinDesk, Barry Silbert
By Iaroslava Kramarenko 1927 6 Dec 2022
Barry Silbert is one of the few crypto gurus who has not been involved in scandals or hype. He is a classic “good boy” who made his fortune "in white gloves." And even if Barry has any skeletons in his closet, the press isn't aware of them.
If you've never heard of Barry Silbert, you're not alone. Despite actively tweeting for 220,000 followers, his name is rarely seen in crypto media and telegram channels. This is surprising considering this person is closely involved with key crypto projects and has invested in the most promising players in the market.
Barry's name has not become well-known since he avoids publicity and believes that "money loves silence". However, there are some details about him.
Period of traditional finance
Silbert is now 46 years old. He was born and raised in Maryland. He made his first $1,000 by selling collectible baseball cards to pupils at his school. At the same time, he passed the securities trading qualification exam. That is, at the age of 17, Barry Silbert has already received the status of a Series 7 exchange representative, making him the youngest broker in US history.
In 2004, he graduated from Emory University's Goizueta Business School and founded SecondMarket, an online trading platform for illiquid assets. The team under his leadership traded everything that experienced financial players did not want to take on: from private stocks to bankruptcy filings and mortgage-backed securities. Two years later, the platform had earned Silbert several million dollars, and he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.
Barry was featured on Treasury & Risk's list of the 100 Most Influential People in Finance. In 2011, Silbert was named "a credit-trading prodigy" in Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list, which includes the world's youngest millionaires.
Building Barry Silbert’s Crypto Empire
When Silbert was at the peak of his success in 2012, he first heard about the new blockchain technology and began purchasing Bitcoin, not fully realizing its potential. The future crypto-tycoon gave up all of the financial assets he was used to and fully focused on the blockchain.
In order to concentrate solely on cryptocurrencies, Barry first resigned as CEO of SecondMarket before selling the website in 2015. But first, through SecondMarket, he won the cryptocurrency seized from Silk Road at an auction: 48,000 out of the 50,000 BTC put up for sale. Tim Draper was able to win the rest of the coins.
“Extra profit is always needed,” Barry Silbert probably thought, and began to build his crypto-empire.
1. He founded Digital Currency Group (DCG), a crypto-conglomerate that describes itself as “the epicenter of the bitcoin and blockchain industry.” The company has made significant investments in a large variety of cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, many of which are still market leaders:
- Brave Software
Another hundred well-known companies could be added to this list. It’s fair to say that Silbert has an eye for a winner. He could make millions just by betting on horse races.
2. Silbert founded investment firm Grayscale, which has $28 billion in crypto assets under management, including 500,000 Bitcoin. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (ticker: GBTC) allows large investors a way of indirectly trading crypto.
3. In January 2016, he purchased the digital currency news website CoinDesk from Spotify advisor Shakil Khan.
4. Bought a controlling stake of the Genesis Trading OTC platform.
5. Established the Foundry Digital platform as a subsidiary of DCG, which specializes in crypto mining and staking.
Barry Silbert now has financial stakes and voting rights in all major areas of the crypto space:
- institutional investment through Grayscale
- retail investments through the Genesis crypto exchange
- information influence through CoinDesk
- mining through Foundry.
Barry Silbert is known as the "Crypto King". But, in our perspective, his kingdom is more like a thin and strong web, with all the ends of the threads in the hands of its creator.